By Simon Evans
A 55th minute Thomas Mueller goal gave Germany a 1-0 win over the United States on Thursday but the result allowed both teams to progress to the second round of the World Cup.
Germany top Group G and will face the runner-up in Group H while the United States finish second and will face Group H’s winner. Portugal who beat Ghana 2-1 are eliminated with the Africans.
The Germans dominated the game with Juergen Klinsmann’s team, with their backs against the wall, creating very few chances.
The breakthrough came when Tim Howard parried out a Per Mertesacker header but Mueller collected the loose ball on the edge of the area and superbly side-footed into the bottom corner.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner for Portugal, his first goal of the tournament. Starting the day on a point each, both teams knew they needed a victory to have any chance of progress and Portugal started strongly as Ronaldo hit the bar and sent a close-range header straight at goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda before Ghana’s John Boye sliced a cross into his own net after 31 minutes.
Asamoah Gyan headed the equaliser from a lovely Kwadwo Asamoah cross 12 minutes into the second half and Abdul Majeed Waris missed the chance to put Ghana ahead when he headed wide from point-blank range five minutes later.
Ronaldo finally found the net in the 80th minute but Portugal, thrashed 4-0 by Germany in their opening game, needed a far bigger win to overhaul the Americans’ goal difference.